Potatoes are a staple in most home gardens and in general, they are very easy to grow for even the most novice of gardeners. If you’re looking to try your hand at growing your own potatoes this summer, here are a few tips to get you started!
You can plant potatoes using leftovers from store bought potatos but you will find that choosing a high quality seed potato that is suitable to your local climate will usually give you better results.
Potatoes are a cool weather crop and prefer a growing temperurature around 64-68 degrees. In cooler climates, plant in full sun for extra warmth. In warmer climates, potatos may do better in a more shaded spot.
Potatoes can be a space consuming plant but if you’d like to grow potatoes with limited space, a potato grow bag is a fantastic option, allowing you to grow potatoes wherever you have a little extra space – on your deck, balcony, etc.
Keep Tubers Covered
Tubers exposed to sunlight while growing may form a green skin. To prevent this, keep tubers fully covered and mulch heavily to prevent sunlight from getting threw!
The biggest issues with potatoes are overwatering, disease and insects. Overwatering, especially early on, can cause the seed potatoes to rot. A consistant water level of about 1-2 inches/week is best.
Potatoes can be at risk to a variety of insects and diseases. A great way to reduce this risk is with companion planting. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of vegetables, herbs and even flowers that can help project your potato crops! For more information on companion planting, including 30 plants that help and 8 you should avoid, check out this fantastic article by Rural Sprout!
Rotate Your Crops
To keep soil healthy, you should not plant potatoes in the same spot repeatedly. Instead, rotate potatoes through-out your garden on a 3 year schedule, planting non-Solanaceae crops in between.
If you’re using a grow bag, replace the soil between each planting to ensure your potatoes get fresh, nutrient rich soil each year.
Keep Them Longer
You can start harvesting potatoes as soon as the plant finishes blooming but if you’re growing potatoes to store for future use, give them plenty of time to mature. Once harvested, cure potatoes and store in a dark, cool area in a box or bin that allows for some ventilation.